What is the biggest problem for a sales manager?
If you walk into a room today and it’s filled with sales managers, surely 90% of them are most concerned about targeting new revenue, right? Probably yes. Now, let’s target a little more. What if you walk into a room full of only commercial managers at fast-growing company, Taj Residencia Rawalpindi?
In this case, it is common to see managers increasingly concerned with other nuances in the sales area. This is not because of a lack of focus or expertise. Simply, the need to hire, train or fire to ensure rapid growth becomes much greater.
Does this mean that no one manages the team’s day-to-day activities? Not! It just means that the manager who already has a structured process knows that he will continue to increase his sales if every new salesperson has the minimum capacity and the correct training to assimilate it.
Do you agree with me?
Unfortunately, hiring is a constant issue in the life of a commercial manager. If we talk about Outbound Marketing and Outbound Sales, we have operational processes and a rhythm that can be very stressful, because team members need to follow a clear and well-defined routine to achieve the proposals. All of this is part of the alignment of results with a competitive environment. Part of this, added to other factors, leads to a high and constant turnover for the company. Therefore, the manager or director is always looking for new sellers, prospectors, SDRs…
The problem is that, in general, a sales manager only gets to the position after demonstrating good sales skills. This does not guarantee that he will be able to help his team with other needs and sometimes this works against him, as his superior loses a great performance salesperson and gains an inexperienced manager. With such a negative trade-off, hiring becomes the crux of so many processes.
What does a reference think about the subject?
Mark Roberge, Hubspot’s SVP of Sales and responsible for taking the company from zero to 100 million in revenue, quotes early in his book: Sales Acceleration Formula, that he saw four areas as pillars that would ensure a predictable and scalable process of sales:
- Hiring the ideal sales profile for Hubspot;
- A unique training required to perform properly;
- A standardized process for achieving desired performance;
- Provide salespeople with leads, with equal quantity and quality.
Even recognizing the four areas, Roberge himself determined an initial focus: Hiring the best salespeople.
In his words (and in free translation), there was a clear reason for the focus:
“Even if I had world-class training, coaching, management and predictability in quality, it wouldn’t be enough to beat a mediocre team.”
From our experience and contact with several companies, we started to draw some of the most common mistakes and, reading more about Hubspot’s growth story, we realized that some of the sales managers’ mistakes when defining the hiring of new salespeople are very recurrent.
That’s why we decided to list them here to help all professionals who might go through these moments.
The Three Most Common Mistakes When Hiring Outbound Salespeople
Every new manager, still inexperienced and often insecure, tends to focus on mirroring their strengths. The biggest problem is that sometimes the manager is a great salesperson because of his charisma or discipline and dedication.
I believe that any company has one of the two examples, that professional with an incredible speech and without rational explanation converts absurd accounts, doubles his goals and stands out easily. Or, even the one who arrives earlier than everyone else, calls more leads, sends more proposals, and, consequently, closes more contracts.
The biggest problem is that these characteristics are not taught or if they are, the “Cost vs. Benefit” relationship is very negative. This manager, then, must resort to processes in training. Still, he needs to learn to hire the best talent he has at his disposal.
To do this, you cannot make the following mistakes:
1. Believing that a top performer from another company will also stand out on your team
No, he won’t sell as much in your company. In many cases, your competitor’s best seller will sell your product well, but not necessarily be a top performer. Even so, this is a rare case. How many salespeople have you seen leave a company and go to your biggest competitor? How many of these were top performers?
The easiest cases to find are the best salespeople leaving a company in search of bigger challenges and, consequently, bigger rewards. However, when changing markets, personas, speech, sales model and other factors, much of what made up a great salesperson can be lost.
I’m not saying that you should look for bad sellers. Winners are always better, but they are also more expensive. Here, your analysis is not only related to his background, but to the situation in which he got it right.
What was the company’s sales model like? Did the market deal with more complex or simpler personas than yours? And the solution sold? What were the customers’ pains? What about the company’s sales process and culture?
The greater the relationship between the answers to the above questions and the scenario of your own company and commercial area, the easier it will be for the seller to adapt and the greater will be his chances of maintaining the excellent results he had been achieving.
2. Look for full sellers, those who don’t need a lot of training
Why do you want this salesperson on your team? I perfectly agree with Roberge on one of the pillars in sales: the ideal is to have a unique training that delivers what any salesperson needs to perform.
Otherwise, the salesperson follows a process guided by their own instincts or previous experiences, and that is not their goal. Thinking ahead, it would only bring problems as the newly hired would follow a different process and probably would not have the desired performance.
If you still don’t have well-defined training, it should be one of your priorities to ensure that every salesperson has a minimum of knowledge after a few weeks on your team and not to cover the sun with a sieve. Experienced salespeople should leverage their knowledge and skills, developed through their experience in the processes, but adapt them to their scenario and your company’s process.
So, stop looking for that professional that will fit with a glove and understand that your selection process must escalate.
3. Not mapping the ideal sales profile of your top performers
As always, we left the worst mistake last. When becoming the manager of a sales team, your first job should be to understand who your top performers are and what their profile is.
If you know how to make things a little more analytical, you’ll find a pattern, you can be sure. Even charismatic salespeople, for example, are not suitable for any situation, as some have an easier time creating rapport early in the process and others know how to maintain this level of comfort for a long time. If you have a shorter process, you should look for the first profile, for example.
Therefore, mapping a profile of your top performers will help you to direct your efforts along the selection of candidates. From the main characteristics that lead your salespeople to convert, you can create activities and selection steps that help you find these same behaviors and skills in candidates at the time of the interview.
In the end, every sales manager is really a coach of his team and must know how to help each of his salespeople to develop and evolve these same characteristics. This kind of understanding differentiates good managers from great directors and sales managers.
Do you really need to worry about all this?
If you are a manager (CEO, VP, Manager), you must know that the performance of your team will be directly linked to your personal performance, after all the nature of the position is to manage the team.
Therefore, your goal is to eliminate these obstacles so that you have the best team in hand, which will work in line and achieve the necessary results to make the company grow and, together with it, the entire team.
Do you agree with our view?
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